Princess Cruises Lays Keel on New Ship

The keel for the Royal Princess, a new Princess Cruises ship, landed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. As the keel was lowered into position, Princess Cruises and shipyard officials marked the occasion with a countdown to the ship’s debut in spring 2013.

Following a traditional blessing by a priest, the ship’s keel, which weighs approximately 500 tons, was moved into position by a huge crane onto the keel blocks. The computer-guided maneuver took only minutes, belying the more than two million man hours that will ultimately go into building the vessel. The 3,600-passenger, 141,000-ton ship will remain in the building dock until its float-out next summer.

The Royal Princess will feature an over-water SeaWalk, a glass-bottomed enclosed walkway extending more than 20 feet beyond the edge of the vessel. On the ship’s opposite side, an over-water SeaView bar will also extend over the waves.

On the top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two additional pools will flank a tropical island that will offer pool seating by day, and by night will become an outdoor dance club. Princess’ signature adults-only haven, The Sanctuary, will be expanded both in size and amenities. The popular poolside theater, Movies Under the Stars, will play a starring role mid-ship with an expanded size and high-definition viewing.